Saga Order of St John Mounted Warriors

Mounted Warriors of St John

I have finally painted my Order of St John Mounted Warriors.  I have only had these since 2015, these are the Fireforged Games Mounted Sergeants.  Bases are old Galeforce 9 bases, and they’re going to be part of a Saga crusader warband.

The real story here is not the Men-At-Arms; it is the horses. I have been trying to find a use for GW’s Contrast paints.  This is a long task, as I am just not that impressed with them. The base coat determines if you get a washed out or bright and saturated version of the colour or a colour looks bright.

With Scale75 joining the Contrast-like Paint Party with their recent Instant Colours Kickstarter, these style of paints look here to stay. However, finding ways to make the contrast paints look better and change my mind on how useful they are has been a task. NanoTanks and I had discussed these paints, his thoughts are there is a lack of mid tone, or that the mid tone and highlight are too similar. And I agree, you have to work very hard to get a good range of tone.

I did some tests on horses with different undercoats: GW Grey Seer (Grey) and GW Wraithbone (Bone). I did a group of horses in the same set of colours. Each of the contrast paints was thinned using the contrast medium. At application I only put a small amount of contrast on. I wanted to fix the frequent problem of the paints pooling (which looks terrible).

The Contrast Paint Test on Horses

In these photos the Grey Seer undercoated horse is on the Left.  With each of these I had to work really hard to stop the paints from pooling in the wrong areas and not sitting where I wanted it. I was stuck moving the paint around until it had dried enough to stay where I wanted it.


Contrast Grey Horses


Contrast Chestnut


More Brown Horses

Apart from this horse the grey undercoat washed out the mid tone, they all look a little dull. But there was one I was really happy with.
Chestnut Ink Horse

I mixed some old GW Chestnut Ink with the contrast medium and painted it over the Wraithbone undercoat. The horse on the right got two coats, and the one on the left a single coat.
Chestnut Ink

This is the ink used. It is a very old hex Flip top lid bottle of GW Chestnut Ink.  However this may not be sustainable, as it is the only bottle I have…

So after all that I am still not convinced that Contrast paints are all they are cracked up to be. I have used them a number of times for different things. I think you can get a better result with other paints. The time and money they say you will save (by only needing a single paint for a colour) doesn’t come out at the end. You need to spend more time to get the different tones for a good result. And you need to spend more on undercoats as different undercoats give very different result. Finally you still need multiple colours of contrast to get a decent look.

Did I mention these paints are very harsh on your brushes? In fact it can ruin them. So you need to spend time cleaning the brushes each time you use a contrast paint.

I think you can do the same with traditional paints thinned down and layered across the models to build tone and depth of colour.

The Warriors of St John

That is enough on horses and contrast paints. It’s time to move on to some images of the warriors. I got some white spots on the warriors from the top coat I used (testing more stuff out). I used the Army Painter Colour Primer Matt Varnish, and it seems to have left small white spots that I will have to clean up at some point. This is one Point for SAGA, so still have 3 more to go for a small force and 5 more for a large force.

Warrior 1

Warrior 2

Warrior 3

Warrior 4

Warrior 5

Warrior 6

Warrior 7

Warrior 8

I am not too fussed with the spray, it will wear off. But I did forget to do Pupils on the horses that I will go back and correct.

Overall the models are very nice and I did enjoy painting them. The problems with the top coat aside the whole force for SAGA will look good.

On my workbench

I have a bunch of 15mm Medium/Heavy Horse with Crossbow. Working on getting a few elements of Medieval troops so I can do a Medieval army for ADLG.

Picture of floppy


Floppy has been playing wargames poorly for over 20 years. A founding member of the Monday Knights.

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The Monday Knights are a gaming group based in Melbourne Australia.  We are happy to play just about any game at any time.

We meet every Monday night at the Auburn Bowls club in Hawthorn East, Victoria, from 6pm onwards.

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